LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — The Jan. 6 committee’s more than 800-page final report details how Nevada Republicans planned and then took part in a scheme to try to falsely declare former President Donald Trump the winner of the 2020 election.
Despite the state’s real electors submitting the verified documentation for President Joe Biden, Nevada’s GOP went ahead with attempts to validate their own votes. While publicly agreeing with the president’s claims of widespread fraud, some working with the president privately noted the allegations were false.
Nevada GOP chairman Michael McDonald was questioned about a “major plan” and Trump’s desire for “full attack mode” following the 2020 election, according to a record of his testimony to the committee.
“I have been on the phone this morning with the President, Eric Trump, Mark Meadows, and Rudy Giuliani. There is a major plan,” McDonald said in a text message on Nov. 4, 2020, according to the committee.
No media outlet had called the race for president in Nevada until several days after the election due to the counting of mail-in votes in Clark County.
McDonald invoked the Fifth Amendment more than 200 times over the course of questioning on Feb. 24, 2022, before the committee. As the 8 News Now Investigators first reported this summer, the FBI seized his phone in connection with the investigation.
Jim Graffenreid, a Nevada GOP executive board member, was also questioned by the committee. He was also deposed on Feb. 24. He also invoked the Fifth Amendment repeatedly.
In December 2020, the 8 News Now Investigators reported Nevada Republican Party’s six electors signed paperwork signaling their support for Trump in a symbolic ceremony devoid of any legal merit. The event, held in Carson City, coincided with the official state-sanctioned tally on Dec. 14, 2020.
A few hours after the official state process had ended, a video accompanied a tweet from the Nevada GOP, saying, “History made today in Carson City,” as footage showed Republican electors signing papers on a table. The event was live-streamed on a YouTube channel called “Right Side Broadcasting Network.” The video has since been scrubbed.
“Our brave electors standing up for what is right and casting their electoral votes for @realDonaldTrump,” the state party’s Twitter account later tweeted. “We believe in fair elections and will continue the fight against voter fraud in the Silver State!”
The certificate received by the National Archives looks much different than the official state-sealed one and reads, “We, the undersigned, being the duly elected and qualified electors for president and vice president of the United States of America from the State of Nevada, do hereby certify six electoral votes for Trump.”
The purpose was to force Congress to decide the presidential election, according to people whom the committee interviewed. A legal advisor to the Trump campaign, Kenneth Chesebro, emailed a Nevada fake elector organizer about the plan, the committee found.
“Chesebro’s contemporaneous communications make clear that the goal was having Congress act on the fake electoral votes,” the report said. “He emailed an organizer of the fake electors in Nevada that ‘the purpose of having the electoral votes sent in to Congress is to provide the opportunity to debate the election irregularities in Congress, and to keep alive the possibility that the votes could be flipped to Trump…’”
Nevada law requires the secretary of state to oversee the meeting of the state’s electors. Nevada’s Electoral College met via Zoom during an official ceremony with the Secretary of State’s Office on Dec. 14.
Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske is a Republican. Her party censured her for defending the election, which she oversaw.
Through numerous interviews, the committee reiterated claims that Republican and Trump campaign officers knew the former president’s claims of widespread fraud in the 2020 election were false.
‘Sir, we’ve done dozens of investigations, hundreds of interviews,” Richard Donoghue, the former acting deputy attorney general, told the committee, according to its final report. “The major allegations are not supported by the evidence developed. We’ve looked in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Nevada. We’re doing our job.”
Three days before the Jan. 6 U.S. Capitol insurrection, Donoghue told the former president, “We checked that out, and there’s nothing to it,” the report said.
Earlier this year, the 8 News Now Investigators received a copy of the fake electoral certificates and the envelope they arrived in which they arrived.
The outside of the envelope accompanying the documents was stamped and verified by the U.S. Postal Service and is addressed and was sent via certified mail to the National Archives from the rural town of Minden, Nevada, the 8 News Now Investigators reported earlier this year. The USPS time-date stamps indicate the packet arrived in Washington, D.C., on Dec. 22.
Upon receiving the fake electoral votes from the Nevada GOP, the U.S. Senate Parliamentarian noted the document contained “no seal of the state” and “no evidence votes were delivered by the executive of the state for signature by electors,” the report said.
In a statement after the event, Nevada GOP chair Michael McDonald said the party’s electors convened in Carson City due to ongoing legal battles seeking to overturn the election results, however, all legal remedies were lost in court before Dec. 14, 2020.
The Supreme Court of Nevada denied the Trump’s campaign’s request to overturn the state’s election results and proclaim the president the winner on Dec. 8. Biden won Nevada by more than 33,000 votes, a result the court had certified in November.
The Nevada Republican Party had delivered four boxes containing reports alleging fraud to Cegavske’s office in March 2021. In several statements, party leaders said they had delivered more than 122,000 records supporting allegations of fraud.
In Nevada in 2020, 10 dead voters had ballots cast in their names and 10 people voted twice, the 8 News Now Investigators learned from a secretary of state report, far below initial claims from state and national Republicans alleging nearly 4,000 individual cases of voter fraud.
A review of the reports found 10 possibly deceased voters had ballots cast in their names, the report said, citing data from the Office of Vital Statistics.
The committee report notes their findings about deceased voters in Georgia.
“By early November, Trump lawyers discovered that many people listed by the campaign as having died were actually alive and well,” the report said. “In early December, Eric Herschmann advised Chief of Staff [Mark] Meadows by text message that the Trump legal team had determined that the claim of more than 10,000 dead people voting in Georgia was not accurate.”
In one Nevada case, Donald “Kirk” Hartle, who told the 8 News Now Investigators in November 2020 that someone had stolen his deceased wife’s ballot and voted, in fact voted himself, officials said. Rosemarie Hartle’s ballot was one of two cited by Nevada Republicans and national party leaders as evidence of voter fraud in Nevada.
The 8 News Now Investigators first reported Hartle, 56, a registered Republican, was facing two charges relating to the 2020 election. In court last November, Hartle pleaded guilty to one charge of voting more than once in the same election. Hartle had reached a deal with prosecutors to avoid prison time and to change his plea after a year.
Last November, Judge Carli Kierny fined Hartle $2,000 and ordered him to stay out of trouble. Having completed that requirement as of November 2022, Judge Bita Yeager accepted Hartle’s updated guilty plea to a misdemeanor charge of conspiracy to vote more than once in an election.
While claiming fraud in the 2020 election, Nevada Republican leaders did not make the same claim for the 2022 primary nor the 2022 general election, which followed the same procedures.
Audits and lawsuits filed in states, including Nevada, found no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020. Hartle was the only case the Nevada Attorney General’s Office has prosecuted thus far in relation to the 2020 election.
Nevada’s voting machines do not have a modem and print out a paper record.
The Nevada GOP, McDonald nor the other fake electors have responded to repeated requests for comment over the past year.